New Policies Ease Access to Noncovered Reproductive Health Care for Military Service Members and Families

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has implemented two policies to provide service members and eligible dependents with travel and transportation allowances to access noncovered reproductive health care services. These policies were introduced last year, and have been used 12 times across the military services at a total cost of approximately $45,000 between June and December 2023. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh clarified that this does not necessarily mean 12 individuals used the policy, as an individual may have used it multiple times.

The first policy allows service members to travel to another state or overseas location to access noncovered reproductive health care services if those services are not readily available near their permanent duty station. This means that service members can access these services and then return home to their permanent duty station.

Another policy allows service members to be granted administrative absences from their normal duty stations for up to 21 days, without using leave, to receive or accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent receiving noncovered reproductive health care services. These noncovered services include procedures like egg retrieval, ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and noncovered abortions.

While the Department of Defense covers travel costs for accessing noncovered reproductive health care services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual health care services. Singh emphasized that these policies aim to give service members and their families the time and flexibility to make private health care decisions and ensure access to noncovered reproductive health care services regardless of their duty station.

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